FBI Confirms Ex-CIA Head Leaked ‘Top Secret’ Info To Multiple Reporters And Mistress, Still Got Off Easy
‘Top Secret’ Info Leaked To More Than Just David Petraeus Mistress
FBI documents highlight the hypocrisy of the U.S. Government’s approach to information leaks.
New FBI documents obtained by POLITICO now confirm former CIA Director David Petraeus shared ‘top secret’ information with, not just his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell, but multiple reporters. Petraeus was forced to step down from his position and received a plea deal of two years probation and a $100,000 fine for his actions, essentially a slap on the wrist.
The FBI stated they had obtained audio recordings where Petraeus shared the highly classified information with reporters but clearly stated he wanted his name left out of the articles. The two particularly damning statements are these:
“In the conversation, Petraeus stated, ‘I would really love to be on background as a senior military officer.’ Later in the recording, Petraeus discusses sensitive military campaigns and operations, some of which, on the basis of a preliminary review … is believed to contain classified information, including information at the Top Secret level”…
“During the conversation, Petraeus requested that information he provided be attributed to a ‘defense official familiar with Petraeus’s activities…Petraeus was concerned about the sensitivity of the information he was providing, and wanted to ensure the information was not attributed to him because it would come out after he was confirmed as director of the CIA.”
Petraeus agreed to a plea deal where he admitted to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information. That came despite definitely lying to the FBI during their investigation:
[Petraeus] also acknowledged that he initially told the FBI he never gave Broadwell any classified information or helped her access such information, but those statements were not true.
On top of giving Paula Broadwell ‘top secret’ info, the newly released documents show he assisted her in getting classified information from other people in the government. In one message to an Army lieutenant colonel inquiring about his unit’s operations, Broadwell wrote:
“If you have classified material, Gen Petraeus has been gracious enough to allow me to have you send the storyboards and material to his SIPR account; I’ll pick them up as soon as you send the word! I’ve copied him on this email,” Broadwell wrote.
And for all of this, David Petraeus received a resounding slap on the wrist. This comes in comparison to the U.S. government hitting lower-level whistleblowers as hard as possible when prosecuting them. We’ve seen what has happened to the likes of Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, and John Kiriakou and there is little doubt what would happen to Edward Snowden if he returns to the United States.
The Snowden case stands in stark contrast when looking at the role former Attorney General Eric Holder plays here. Holder is mentioned in the POLITICO article as stating there wasn’t enough evidence for a felony conviction in the Petraeus investigation, despite the audio recordings making it look like an open-and-shut case. And it appears part of Petraeus’ motive in sharing this info was his sexual relationship with Broadwell.
Snowden, in contrast, shared information with reporters solely to make his fellow citizens aware of the widespread surveillance happening without their knowledge. Some would call this patriotic. Even Holder himself recently stated Snowden performed a “public service” by his actions. Petraeus’ actions were performed for…well, you get the idea.
Yet, it’s Holder who still believes Snowden should be prosecuted. I can’t remember him offering him any sweetheart plea deals, other than to promise not to torture or kill him. I wonder if he had to make the same promise with Petraeus?
The moral of the story: if you are going to leak ‘top secret’ info, make sure you are not doing it to inform your fellow citizens of egregious government actions. Do it for person pleasure only and you’ll walk free. Otherwise, you just might find yourself behind bars.
Featured image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.